Thanksgiving break lasts a long time — like a whole week with your extended family.

As the holiday approaches and the metaphorical highlight reel of last year’s family gathering plays in your head every five minutes, you might feel a little trapped.

Don’t worry; this is incredibly reasonable. Nobody wants to dive headfirst into a political piranha pit, get pestered about their relationship status or eat anything with cranberries in it. Like seriously, what do cranberries even have to do with being thankful as an American?

There’s still plenty of time to enjoy yourself here in the capital of questionable football decisions and maroon-painted poultry, however. Also, Thanksgiving is a holiday founded on being thankful, isn’t it? Though traditionally spent with family, being thankful can extend beyond those who are blood-related to you. . So, why not just throw an early Friendsgiving?

This rich tradition of Friendsgiving is immortalized by Charlie Brown and now resides in a beautiful mess of college-made casseroles and fun memories free of partisan politics and the smell of your relatives’ hairspray. A Friendsgiving at Virginia Tech should contain a few key elements, and in order to make a truly unique HokieBird-themed banquet, there are a few great ways to do it.

First of all, you have to start with the shopping. Venmo is your friend, and a Friendsgiving is not complete unless your cooking skills are not adequately compensated for, unless it is a potluck. In fact, just make it a potluck. Friends of yours are not your friends if everything gets complicated with money — that’s what Thanksgiving is for.

Okay, sidetracks aside: Kroger. Virginia Tech is not Virginia Tech without the shining blue goldmine  that is Kroger. Yeah, there’s Food Lion here too, but Krogering is Krogering and there is no such thing as “Food Lioning.” Kroger adds the aesthetic you need for a Virginia Tech feast. Here you will find bags of potatoes for pennies and hunks of meat for dollars. You will also find the Friendsgiving staples you need for the feast as well, which leads to my next point:

A Virginia Tech Friendsgiving cannot include turkey.

Yes, unfortunately you cannot use turkey, no matter how good it is. This may seem controversial, but we are the school which is responsible for sheltering the Turkeys pardoned by the President of the United States. 

Kroger, your other friend, carries chicken, duck and even goose — enough fowl to keep yourself distracted from your Turkey cravings until Thanksgiving comes around. For the vegetarians, Beyond Meat is making all sorts of meat alternatives, so you don’t have to feel left out eating leaves in the corner. 

If this is a potluck, then casseroles are a go-to meal to bring over. If it is in a casserole dish and it’s warm, everyone will love it. If you have taken to Kroger and bought a massive amount of cheap meat and potatoes, go ahead and throw them all in a rectangular dish and slide it into the oven. This isn’t a call to action, because you should probably research how to make a casserole beforehand. Either way, everyone will love your casserole dish.

As this is a college level Friendsgiving, procrastination is a key element in preparing the food and the event. Make sure to invite your friends at the last minute and don’t throw your mess of meat and potatoes in the oven until everyone gets there. In fact, if you forget your casserole altogether, there are options specifically tailored to this situation — at Kroger, of course.

Kroger has a ready-made food section in both Krogers. It is simple, fast and convenient — and if that is not enough, what is a better place to get take out at Virginia Tech but Hokie House?

As your Friendsgiving in Blacksburg progresses with your delicious casseroles and good times, remember to be thankful for everything. Be thankful you aren’t in a dorm room anymore microwaving a hot dog, remember to thank Bud Foster for all of the turkey calls and most importantly, be thankful that regardless we beat UVA 15 times in a row.

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